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Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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A careful and courageous examination of automation and its possible impact on society.”
In Rise of the Robots, Ford coolly and clearly considers what work is under threat from automation.”
Makes clear the need to come to grips with ever more rapidly advancing technology and its effects on how people make a living and how the economy functions.”
Of all the moderns who have written on automation and rising joblessness, Martin Ford is the original. His Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future is due out this May.... Self-recommending.”
Robots, and their like, are on the rise. Their impact will be an important question in the next decade and beyond. Martin Ford has been thinking in this area before most others, so this book deserves very careful consideration.”
Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
Mr. Ford lucidly sets out myriad examples of how focused applications of versatile machines (coupled with human helpers where necessary) could displace or de-skill many jobs His answer to a sharp decline in employment is a guaranteed basic income, a safety net that he suggests would both cushion the effect on the newly unemployable and encourage entrepreneurship among those creative enough to make a new way for themselves. This is a drastic prescription for the ills of modern industrializationills whose severity and very existence are hotly contested. Rise of the Robots provides a compelling case that they are real, even if its more dire predictions are harder to accept.”
Wall Street Journal
Well-researched and disturbingly persuasive.”
[Rise of the Robots is]about as scary as the title suggests. It's not science fiction, but rather a vision (almost) of economic Armageddon.”
Frank Bruni, New York Times
As Martin Ford documents in Rise of the Robots, the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated...the human consequences of robotization are already upon us, and skillfully chronicled here."
New York Times Book Review
Martin Ford has thrust himself into the center of the debate over AI, big data, and the future of the economy with a shrewd look at the forces shaping our lives and work. As an entrepreneur pioneering many of the trends he uncovers, he speaks with special credibility, insight, and verve. Business people, policy makers, and professionals of all sorts should read this book right awaybefore the 'bots steal their jobs. Ford gives us a roadmap to the future.”
Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor for the Economist and co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
If the robots are coming for my job (too), then Martin Ford is the person I want on my side, not to fend them off but to construct a better world where we can allhumans and our machineslive more prosperously together. Rise of the Robots goes far beyond the usual fear-mongering punditry to suggest an action plan for a better future.”
Cathy N. Davidson, Distinguished Professor and Director, The Futures Initiative, The Graduate Center, CUNY and author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
It's not easy to accept, but it's true. Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for huge numbers of people as technology advances. The time for denial is over. Now it's time to consider solutions and there are very few proposals on the table. Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity and force. No one who cares about the future of human dignity can afford to skip this book.”
Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?
Ever since the Luddites, pessimists have believed that technology would destroy jobs. So far they have been wrong. Martin Ford shows with great clarity why today's automated technology will be much more destructive of jobs than previous technological innovation. This is a book that everyone concerned with the future of work must read.”
Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, co-author of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life and author of the three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes
Compelling and well-written In his conception, the answer is a combination of short-term policies and longer-term initiatives, one of which is a radical idea that may gain some purchase among gloomier techno-profits: a guaranteed income for all citizens. If that stirs up controversy, that's the point. The book is both lucid and bold, and certainly a starting point for robust debate about the future of all workers in an age of advancing robotics and looming artificial intelligence systems.”
An alarming new book.”
A thorough look at how far machines have come”
Washington Post, Innovations blog
Ford tells great stories, both about innovation in the last 50 years and about the potential impacts of widespread automation of work in the future Rise of the Robots is a competent, approachable, and well-written synthesis of information across many area, and provides a valuable, coherent picture of automation's socio-economic interactions.”
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Ford offers ideas on changes in social policies, including guaranteed income, to keep our economy humming and prepare ourselves for a more automated future.”
Whether you agree or not with the policy prescriptions put forward by [Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots and Anne-Marie Slaughter's Unfinished Business] these two well-written books, and quite a few will likely disagree, they are important reads for those wishing to better understand and influence the future.”
Bloomberg Business, Mohamed El-Erian
Few captured the mood as well as Martin Ford in The Rise of the Robots, the winner of the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which painted a bleak picture of the upheavals that would come as ever-greater numbers of even highly skilled workers were displaced by machines.”
[A] breathtaking new book on modern economics.”
Lucid, comprehensive and unafraid to grapple fairly with those who dispute Ford's basic thesis, Rise of the Robots is an indispensable contribution to a long-running argument.”
Los Angeles Times
If The Second Machine Age was last year's tech-economy title of choice, this book may be 2015's equivalent.”
Financial Times, Summer books 2015, Business, Andrew Hill
A New York Times Bestseller
Top Business Book of 2015 at Forbes
One of NBCNews.com 12 Notable Science and Technology Books of 2015
For nonfiction, I tip my hat to Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots, which is vacuuming up accolades and is recommended reading for IIF staff. Ford's analysis, in a somewhat crowded field of similar books, offers a sobering assessment of how technology (robotics, machine learning, AI, etc.) is reshaping labor markets, the composition of growth, and the distribution of income and wealth, and calls for enlightened political and policy leadership to address coming, accelerating disruptions and dislocations.”
Bloomberg Business, Timothy Adams
We are in an era of technological optimism but sociological pessimism. Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots captures why these shifts are related and what challenges this might pose to our conventional economic and social infrastructures.”
Bloomberg Business, Andy Haldane
[Ford's] a careful and thoughtful writer who relies on ample evidence, clear reasoning, and lucid economic analysis. In other words, it's entirely possible that he's right.”
Rise of the Robots is an excellent book. Fair-minded, balanced, well-researched, and fully thought through.”
Inside Higher Ed, Learn blog
Surveying all the fields now being affected by automation, Ford makes a compelling case that this is an historic disruptiona fundamental shift from most tasks being performed by humans to one where most tasks are done by machines.”
Well written with interesting stories about both business and technology.”
About the Author
Top customer reviews
"When the automobile was invented it DID destroy many jobs. Makers of buggy whips and horse troughs were put out of business. But many more NEW jobs were created to replace those older jobs. Witness all the gas stations, auto mechanic shops, car factories, etc."
About 8 years ago I lost faith in the buggy whip argument. I realized that, as the technology of AI advanced, a point would be reached in which intelligent software and general-purpose robots could perform all tasks (both mental and physical) that are currently achievable only by highly educated humans. Once one intelligent robot exists with a high level of general intelligence, it can be mass produced. There have been many advances in AI in recent years (in neural networks, planning and learning systems). Machine learning systems can now learn a number of complex cognitive tasks simply by observing the past performance of human experts.
I have always been an admirer of the combination of modern capitalism and (relatively) free markets as the major drivers of wealth. However, modern capitalism (with its corporations, stock and dividends) is less than a few centuries old. There is no reason to believe that it must last forever. Its "reign" over older economic systems may well end abruptly in the near future.
At one time I toyed with writing a book about my concerns regarding intelligent automation and its future effect on political and economic systems but Martin Ford has a done a 100-times better job that I could have ever done. His book is very persuasive in pointing out why the "buggy whip" argument will cease to remain persuasive.
I only have two complaints about Ford's book: (a) the title sounds a bit too much like a title for a pulp-fiction work and so I fear that not enough people will read it and (b) the first 75 pages consist of a standard summary of current economic facts and principles and so I fear that some readers may quit reading his book before they get to the really interesting parts, which in my opinion, start after page 75.
I am interested in the area of the 'Autonomous Car' myself and found it quite insightful how Martin has covered the area from numerous angles... The autonomous car might be coming but I would be in the camp "Freedom to Drive for pleasure" ... the whole idea of the Tesla versus diesel today is 2 things 1) Near instant Torque and 2) Building Cars like Lego with custom form factors (just like phone covers a couple of years ago!)... I agree with Martin that traditional OEMs might embrace the idea of Autonomous Cars but their 'bottom line' of selling cars to everybody will be in direct contradiction to making cars more public and sharing them ... this is probably where the decline of the traditional OEMs will occur and new incumbents (new Tech) will take over as the don't have any legacy in this area!
It was quite interesting about the "Widsom of Economists " too and to paraphrase a quote from the book :-
"John Maynard Keynes may have said it best, writing nearly eighty years ago in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, the book that arguably founded economics as a modern field of study: 'Too large a proportion of recent ‘mathematical’ economics are merely concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest on, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols.' "
The title is unfortunate. The book is not about the rise of robots. The book is about automation and the economic, social, and political issues it is already creating and will become greater over time (The very near future).